Unifor demands Premier Ford exempt Ornge paramedics from unjust legislation

Unifor demands Premier Ford exempt Ornge paramedics from unjust legislation

May 5, 2021 at 3:00 PM


On Sunday Unifor released the results of the strike vote whereby 86% of you participated, and an astounding 94% of you voted in favour of the motion. The Union asked you for a strong mandate and you provided it.

As members of Ornge, you are a significant part of Ontario’s health care system providing air ambulance service and medical transport to people who are critically ill or injured. Ornge is the largest such provider in Canada. But it is your expertise, knowledge and compassionate care that has made Ornge the success that it is today. You and your colleagues are some of the most skilled and educated paramedics to practice pre-hospital medicine in Canada.

In 2019, the current Ontario government enacted Bill 124; legislation put in place as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, this legislation is inequitable and only applies to Ornge and no other EMS in the province. With your mandate, Unifor held a press conference on Sunday, May 2 to highlight the injustice of Ornge being named in Bill 124. The union is demanding that Ornge paramedics be exempt from Bill 124 and your union be permitted to conclude collective bargaining and obtain a new contract on your behalf.

On Monday, Unifor National President Jerry Dias sent a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford asking for a meeting and requesting that the government expedite this request and exempt you from this legislation. Additionally, Unifor’s legal department forwarded a letter to the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy - President of the Treasury Board Secretariat formally requesting exemption of Bill 124 (pursuant to ss. 6(2) and 27 of the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019).



Earlier this week, the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA), which represents 68,000 front-line registered nurses and health-care professionals in the province, sent a similar request demanding the Ford government immediately exempt them from its unconstitutional Bill 124 legislation.

We understand that your primary focus is to provide the highest quality of care for patients, and Unifor respects and understands that this level of service will not dimmish, regardless of the outcome. Unifor will continue to contest this legislation and demand that Ornge paramedics be exempt from Bill 124.

Further details will be communicated as this process develops.


In solidarity,

Your Ornge Bargaining Committee
Mark Etherington, Chairperson
Keith Simons, Northern Bases
Geoffrey Brown, Southern Bases
Ashley Watkins, Assistant to the Local President
Kelly-Anne Orr, National Staff Representative



For more information, please contact:
Ashley Watkins, Assistant to the Local President



21-05-05 Update to Ornge members EN.txt